Android & iOS App & Software Review

The best Android phone to buy in 2023

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The Android ecosystem is all about selection. Whereas iPhone house owners have a smaller pool of latest gadgets to select from when it’s time to improve, there’s an enormous vary of latest Android telephones yearly. A few of them even fold in half! You desire a built-in stylus? A flagship processor for much less cash? Perhaps even — dare I say it — an unapologetically pink cellphone with matching earbuds? You’ve acquired choices on Android.

On the flip aspect, all that selection could make for some exhausting selections. Right here’s the place I’d like to assist; I’ve examined an entire boatload of current Android telephones, and I believe there are some actual winners within the present crop. It’s all a matter of what you’re on the lookout for, what you’re comfy spending, and what your definition of a “moderately sized cellphone” is. (I’ve my very own, personally.)

Should you reside within the US, I’ve some unhealthy information, although. For sophisticated causes having to do with “capitalism” and “geopolitics,” we don’t get practically as most of the choices as you’ll discover in Asia and Europe — manufacturers like Huawei, Xiaomi, Honor, and Oppo simply aren’t obtainable right here. I’ve restricted this information to the gadgets I’ve personally examined in depth; thus, it’s a pretty US-centric set of suggestions. 

With that in thoughts, it’s additionally value acknowledging that most individuals within the US get their telephones “at no cost” from their wi-fi service. Should you can handle it, shopping for a cellphone unlocked offers you probably the most flexibility and freedom if you find yourself wanting to vary carriers within the close to future. Cellphone producers additionally supply financing and trade-in offers to make cost extra manageable. However when you’re glad along with your service and the free cellphone on supply is the one you really need, by all means, take the free cellphone. Simply be sure to perceive the phrases, particularly if you could change plans to money in on the deal. 

Nonetheless you go about it, you might have some unbelievable choices on your subsequent Android cellphone buy obtainable proper now.

Finest Android cellphone general

Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus standing upright on a table top showing home screen and colorful wallpaper.

$850

With a large 6.6-inch display, good battery life, a whip-fast Snapdragon processor, and a succesful digital camera system, the S23 Plus is an Android crowd-pleaser.

Display: 6.6-inch 1080p 120Hz OLED / Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy / Cameras: 50-megapixel F1.8 primary with OIS, 10-megapixel 3x telephoto with OIS, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel selfie / Battery: 4,700mAh / Charging: 45W wired, 15W wi-fi / Climate resistance: IP68

Samsung’s Galaxy S collection telephones have been the go-to high-end Android cellphone for the previous few years — notably within the US — and there’s a very good purpose for that: they’re wonderful gadgets. The Galaxy S23 Plus is a minor replace to that profitable method, however that also makes it a winner. It neatly checks each merchandise on the checklist of 2023 must-have flagship options: a beautiful, giant 6.6-inch display, a succesful digital camera system with a telephoto lens, strong climate resistance, and nice battery life. At $999, it’s not low-cost, however it’s additionally not the costliest flagship cellphone you should purchase.

It’s not shocking that the S23 Plus consists of Qualcomm’s newest chipset: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. However what is shocking is that every one variations of this cellphone offered throughout the globe use that Snapdragon processor — beforehand, some areas would get a Samsung-made Exynos chip. That’s nice information as a result of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is superb, and it makes the S23 Plus sing. Day-to-day efficiency is top-notch, and battery stamina is far improved. There’s a bigger 4,700mAh battery cell within the Plus this 12 months, however the 8 Gen 2 can also be well-tuned to preserve battery.

The S23 is an all-around winner with an ideal digital camera and high-quality construct.
Picture: Allison Johnson / The Verge

The 50-megapixel primary digital camera, ultrawide, and 3x telephoto cameras that make up the S23 Plus’ imaging system aren’t showstoppers just like the S23 Extremely, however they’re greater than sufficient for many conditions. Often, the S23 Plus takes gorgeous photographs, notably in its telephoto portrait mode. However it’s additionally vulnerable to some heavy-handed processing that goes a bit of too exhausting on the HDR typically.

Samsung’s software program isn’t our favourite, both. With a bit of work up entrance, you’ll be able to uninstall or at the very least conceal many of the proprietary apps and providers Samsung insists on downloading, however it could be good to not should tango with Bixby within the first place. However on the brilliant aspect, Samsung gives one of many strongest software program help insurance policies from any Android device-maker, with 4 years of OS updates and 5 years of safety updates promised. Even when the preliminary setup takes a bit of work to get proper, at the very least you gained’t should do it once more in a few years.

Learn my full assessment of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus.

Finest inexpensive flagship

$349

The Google Pixel 7 upgrades the usual mannequin of the Pixel with Google’s second-gen Tensor CPU and an upgraded ultrawide digital camera.

Display: 6.3-inch 1080p 90Hz OLED / Processor: Google Tensor G2 / Cameras: 50-megapixel F1.85 with OIS, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 10.8-megapixel selfie / Battery: 4,355mAh / Charging: 30W wired, 20W wi-fi / Climate resistance: IP68

Relying on the way you take a look at it, the Google Pixel 7 can move as both a budget-friendly flagship or a premium midrange cellphone. At $599, it’s a bit cheaper than Samsung’s S-series telephones and in addition a bit dearer than a midranger just like the Galaxy A54. Its specs observe go well with: you get the high-quality construct and conveniences of a high-end machine, like an IP68 score and wi-fi charging, however you miss out on good extras like a telephoto digital camera and a 120Hz display. If these issues aren’t tremendous essential to you, then the Pixel 7 is one heck of a very good deal.

The Pixel 7 and its step-up 7 Professional sibling use Google’s newest customized chipset, Tensor G2. It delivers flagship-level efficiency, however it’s additionally a part of the Pixel collection’ particular sauce of Google-exclusive options. They’re typically intelligent however type of a blended bag when it comes to how useful they really are. 

Clear Calling, which is unique to the Pixel 7 collection, is like noise cancellation for cellphone calls that makes it simpler to listen to somebody you’re speaking to once they’re in a loud atmosphere. Different options designed to make navigating cellphone timber and customer support calls much less painful don’t work as nicely constantly. However they aren’t actively unhealthy, and Google has confirmed dedicated to supporting its gadgets with updates and new options all through their life spans.

There’s no telephoto lens, however it’s nonetheless a top-notch digital camera system general.
Picture: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Software program actually is the Pixel 7’s power. It runs a clear model of Android, freed from duplicate assistants and app shops (taking a look at you, Samsung) and shall be supported nicely into the close to future with three OS upgrades and 5 years of safety patches. On the {hardware} entrance, you’ll should reside with a few concessions Google made to maintain the worth down. The 6.3-inch display is simply wonderful, however its 90Hz refresh charge is a bit slower than the super-smooth scrolling 120Hz screens on most telephones at this value. 

The Pixel 7 can also be lacking a telephoto rear digital camera, although the 2x crop mode from the 50-megapixel primary sensor does an admirable impression of a real optical telephoto lens. The ultrawide digital camera can also be a technology behind the Pixel 7 Professional’s. However outdoors of these few drawbacks, you don’t miss out on an entire lot by choosing the Pixel 7 somewhat than the 7 Professional — and also you undoubtedly get to maintain a couple of additional {dollars} in your pocket.

Learn my full assessment of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Professional.

Finest cellphone with every little thing however the kitchen sink

Samsung S23 Ultra in cream color standing upright on a table with rear facing outward.

$1000

The Galaxy S23 Extremely gives an enormous 6.8-inch display, built-in S Pen stylus, two telephoto cameras, and a top-notch Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. It’s dear, however there’s nothing else fairly prefer it in the marketplace.

Display: 6.8-inch 1440p 120Hz OLED / Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy / Cameras: 200-megapixel primary with OIS, 10-megapixel 10x telephoto with OIS, 10-megapixel 3x telephoto with OIS, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel selfie / Battery: 5,000mAh / Charging: 45W wired, 15W wi-fi / Climate resistance: IP68

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely isn’t for the faint of coronary heart. It’s dear, beginning at $1,199, and due to a 6.8-inch display, it’s enormous. It’s additionally probably the most highly effective Android cellphone you should purchase within the US proper now, with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, S Pen stylus help with a built-in silo for storage, and two — depend ’em, two — telephoto cameras on the rear panel. It’s type of exhausting to think about what else Samsung might presumably stuff into this cellphone.

The display on the middle of this spec monster is a 6.8-inch OLED with a variable refresh charge as much as 120Hz and 1440p decision. It’s beautiful, and the even higher information is that it’s extra battery-efficient than final 12 months’s mannequin. Between that and the brand new chipset, the S23 Extremely will get by means of a full day of heavy use with a bit of extra wiggle room than its predecessor might. 

The S23 Extremely stands alone.
Picture: Allison Johnson / The Verge

The S23 Extremely’s digital camera system is a serious purpose to think about placing within the additional money for this mannequin somewhat than the S23 Plus. There’s nothing fairly prefer it obtainable on every other flagship cellphone: there’s each a 3x and 10x telephoto digital camera plus an ultrawide and, oh yeah, a 200-megapixel primary digital camera.

The 200-megapixel factor is barely partially a stunt — more often than not, you’ll be getting a 12-megapixel file from it, however the additional knowledge from all these pixels appears to assist the system provide you with some unbelievable photographs. It sometimes makes some bizarre judgments or turns the HDR as much as 11, however it’s typically excellent and, right here and there, is even able to gorgeous “I can’t imagine it’s not a ‘actual’ digital camera” photographs.

Our complaints about Samsung software program stand, sadly, and its faults are much more obvious on a really dear cellphone. Why the spammy clickbait hyperlinks within the climate app? And who on earth needs push notifications from the Samsung Galaxy retailer? You don’t get that type of factor on a Pixel cellphone. Nonetheless, there are sufficient spectacular issues in regards to the S23 Extremely that it’s value some minor software program annoyances.  

Learn my full assessment of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely.

Finest various to Google and Samsung

OnePlus 11 5G in-hand showing green color option and OnePlus logo with a black and white background.

$699

The OnePlus 11 lacks a few key options, specifically strong water resistance and wi-fi charging. However its large 6.7-inch display, wonderful efficiency, and quick wired charging are all fairly interesting at its comparatively low value.

Display: 6.7-inch 1440p 120Hz OLED / Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 / Cameras: 50-megapixel F1.8 primary with OIS, 48-megapixel ultrawide, 32-megapixel 2x telephoto, 16-megapixel selfie / Battery: 5,000mAh / Charging: 80W wired (100W outdoors of US) / Climate resistance: IP64

The US Android market is dominated by Samsung and Google (nicely, largely Samsung). However we do have a couple of alternate options to these manufacturers, and the OnePlus 11 5G is a standout for somebody who needs a high-performing machine for a bit much less cash. It makes use of the wonderful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, however at $699, it’s $300 cheaper than the S23 Extremely with the same processor. 

The OnePlus 11 has a few different issues going for it, too, together with a unbelievable 6.7-inch 1440p show with a prime 120Hz refresh charge. There’s additionally very quick wired charging with the included quick charger — as much as 80W within the US, which can take its large 5,000mAh battery from empty to 100% in lower than half-hour. It’s quick sufficient to make in a single day charging non-obligatory. 

The OnePlus 11 5G misses a few flagship options however trades them in for wonderful efficiency at a lower cost.
Picture: Allison Johnson / The Verge

On the draw back, there are a few issues lacking right here that you simply’ll discover on most different telephones at this value. The primary is wi-fi charging, which can be a deal-breaker when you’re already invested in charging your cellphone that approach. And the OnePlus 11 is barely rated to IP64, not IP68 like just about each different flagship. Which means it’s proof against splashes and spray however isn’t constructed to resist full immersion in water for any size of time. 

These two lacking options slim the OnePlus 11’s attraction. Should you’re not involved about dropping your cellphone in a puddle (or rest room, or bathtub, or sink, or swimming pool) and also you’d somewhat cost your cellphone rapidly than on a wi-fi charging pad, then the 11 5G is a good way to get wonderful efficiency and hold a bit of extra cash in your pockets.

Learn my full assessment of the OnePlus 11 5G.

Finest foldable cellphone

$1800

The Fold 4 is a multitasking powerhouse that can be utilized tablet-style or as your each day driver smartphone. It’s a gadget particular person’s gadget with a excessive price ticket to match.

Display: 7.6-inch 2176p 120Hz OLED inside display, 6.2-inch 2316p 120Hz OLED cowl display / Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 / Cameras: 50-megapixel F/1.8 primary with OIS, 10-megapixel 3x telephoto with OIS, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 10-megapixel selfie (cowl display), four-megapixel under-display selfie (inside display) / Battery: 4,400mAh / Charging: 25W wired, 15W wi-fi / Climate resistance: IPX8

There’s nothing fairly just like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 in the marketplace, notably within the US. The Z Fold 4 is Samsung’s tablet-style foldable — you’ve acquired a 6.2-inch cowl display on the skin for regular cellphone stuff, however on the within, it unfolds to an enormous 7.6-inch display. It’s a degree of versatility you gained’t discover on any conventional slab-style cellphone. It’s priced accordingly, too, at a steep $1,799 MSRP.

The Z Fold 4 is as sturdy as foldables come proper now. It’s IPX8 rated, so it’s protected towards full immersion in water. However that “X” means there’s no assure towards mud intrusion, and regardless of Samsung’s finest efforts to strengthen the machine’s resistance to environmental elements, long-term sturdiness continues to be a query mark. That’s most likely a leap of religion most individuals gained’t be capable to take for a $1,800 cellphone.

There’s nothing fairly as versatile because the Z Fold 4 in the marketplace.
Picture: Allison Johnson / The Verge

The Z Fold 4 additionally runs up towards one other limitation on the software program aspect: the Android pill app ecosystem. Apps don’t at all times make nice use of the massive inside display; they’re typically simply scaled-up cellphone apps, leaving a number of unused clean house. Fortunately, Samsung’s UI gives loads of help to rearrange a number of home windows for multitasking. It might take a bit of futzing, however you may make use of that large canvas by displaying a number of apps without delay. 

Uncertainty about the way it will maintain up in the long term, and the two-hands-on-ness required to profit from it imply the Z Fold 4 is type of a gadget particular person’s gadget. It’s a showcase of {hardware} innovation, and you are able to do issues with it that slab-style telephones can solely dream of. Should you’ve acquired the literal and figurative deep pockets for it, you’ll be nicely rewarded.

Learn my full assessment of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Finest small Android cellphone

$650

The Zenfone 9 includes a comparatively small 5.9-inch show and a novel digital camera stabilization system that mimics the action-smoothing impact of utilizing a gimbal.

Display: 5.9-inch 1080p 120Hz OLED / Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 / Cameras: 50-megapixel F/1.9 primary with OIS, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel selfie / Battery: 4,300mAh / Charging: 30W wired / Climate resistance: IP68

The idea of a “small” cellphone is fluid. What we contemplate small now was gigantic solely a handful of years in the past, however proper now, something with a display smaller than 6.1 inches suits the class. That’s very true within the Android ecosystem, the place large screens reign supreme. In comparison with one thing just like the S23 Extremely, the $699 Asus Zenfone 9 is downright tiny, with a 5.9-inch show. It’s additionally a pleasant little machine with wonderful construct high quality and a considerate design. It’s your finest wager for a “small” Android cellphone, although there are a few essential disclaimers right here.

The primary is that it doesn’t work on Verizon’s community — not on 4G or 5G. That places it out of competition instantly for lots of people within the US. Asus additionally solely guarantees two years of software program updates, and we’re virtually a 12 months into its lifespan already because it got here out in July 2022. There’s additionally no wi-fi charging, which stinks. 

The Zenfone 9 is a bit of cellphone with large efficiency.
Picture: Allison Johnson / The Verge

On the brilliant aspect, the Zenfone 9 is IP68 rated, so it ought to survive dunks and splashes simply wonderful. It’s powered by a extremely succesful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, and its primary 50-megapixel rear digital camera makes use of gimbal-like stabilization for very {smooth} video footage. You’ll additionally discover a uncommon headphone jack on the Zenfone 9, which is simply considerate of Asus to incorporate. 

There are too many cons to broadly suggest the Zenfone 9, however when you’re on the correct wi-fi community and none of its different shortcomings are deal-breakers, then this can be a machine that can completely delight small cellphone followers.

Learn my full assessment of the Asus Zenfone 9.

Different Android telephones value contemplating

There are numerous extra nice Android gadgets that weren’t coated right here, and some are value calling out that didn’t fairly make the reduce for a advice. The Galaxy S23 Plus’ smaller sibling, the Galaxy S23, is a unbelievable choice if you need a considerably smaller Android cellphone. Its 6.1-inch display doesn’t put it in “small cellphone” territory, however it’s way more pocketable than the opposite two S23 fashions. Battery life has been improved this 12 months on the S23, too, which was a weak level for the S22. 

There’s additionally the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Samsung’s clamshell-style foldable. It gives a 6.7-inch inside display that folds in half with a small 1.9-inch cowl display on the skin for heads-up data and notifications. It’s type of like an everyday cellphone with a smartwatch glued on the entrance. It’s not as versatile because the Z Fold 4, however it prices a way more cheap $999. I’ve the identical considerations about long-term sturdiness as I do with the Z Fold, and the quilt display may very well be extra helpful. Nonetheless, it’s a number of enjoyable to make use of, and it folds down sufficiently small to slot in your entrance denims pocket. 

Should you’re all in on Google’s ecosystem, then the Pixel 7 Professional is an efficient (and considerably apparent) step-up choice. It doesn’t supply any important upgrades in comparison with the Pixel 7 however does include a very good 5x telephoto digital camera. The display is greater — 6.7 inches in comparison with 6.3 — and it’s additionally a bit of nicer, with a sooner 120Hz prime refresh charge. However the Pixel 7 is priced so nicely, it’s type of unattainable not to suggest it, and most of the people will discover every little thing they want within the base mannequin.

There’s yet one more Pixel cellphone to think about: the Google Pixel 6A. It’s seemingly going to get replaced within the close to future, and it’s a solidly midrange machine with much less strong weatherproofing, a previous-gen digital camera, and a middling show. Nonetheless, it’s nicely priced at $449 and sometimes on sale lately, and when you don’t essentially want a best-of-the-best Android cellphone, it’s a unbelievable cut price for an ideal midtier machine.

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